This weekend I went with some friends to Kameido (亀戸) Station, which is in an area of Tokyo known as Shitamachi. Shitamachi is kind of the old Edo-era Tokyo with its sumo arenas, old temples, and shady entertainment districts. Kameido is a mini-Chinatown, and it’s famous for… yup, Chinese food.
We went to a restaurant to eat the legendary Kameido gyoza (餃子 – Chinese-style dumplings). The place was a tiny closet (what do you expect) on a twisty, centuries-old road run entirely by crazy old Chinese ladies. There was one guy in the place and it was his job to fry plate after plate of gyoza. Meanwhile, the ladies walked around glaring at people, shouting at each other, and bringing plates of hot, crispy dumplings.
I’ve discovered a wonderful new fruit. It makes fish taste better, you can make awesome mixed drinks with it, and you can put it in the bath – what could be cooler than that?
I’m talking about kabosu (カボス). One of my students’ families runs a kabosu farm in Gifu prefecture. When I was over there at their house one day, they gave me a whole grocery bag full of kabosu. I said, ‘Oh no, you really shouldn’t,’ and then they showed me a massive box that had just arrived from Gifu full of them. Then, I was like, ‘okay.’ Continue reading
Renkon is another delicious and healthy food that Japanese folks love. It’s known as ‘lotus root’ in English and it’s actually a part of the lotus plant’s root system. Apparently, lotus plants have stems that extend horizontally from the main root. This is the part that we eat.
Renkon is used throughout Asia in a number of dishes and I think people in the West are starting to discover its wonders. I found some stuff about lotus root supplements and products on some natural health websites. Continue reading
When I first came to Japan, I was dazzled by the array of foods offered at convenience stores. I think everybody from the US is blown away by Japanese convenience stores because they’re so impressive, and also because ours back home stink. They usually have just a crusty 3-day-old taquito rotating in the oven looking like it died and forgot to lie down.
Japanese convenience stores offer all kinds of different food. The only trouble is that when you first go to Japan, you have no idea what any of it is. Continue reading
Most non-Japanese know about Japan’s rice wine, but few know about the true ‘hard stuff’ of Japan – shochu (焼酎). This is the tough stuff and it’s drunk by Japanese people of all ages and walks of life.
What Is Shochu?
Shochu is a kind of distilled liquor that is indigenous to Japan. It can be made from just about anything and it can be drunk in lots of different ways. By the way, the character sho (焼) means ‘fire’ or ‘fried,’ so this is literally ‘fire water.’ Continue reading